Why American Removed Most Etihad & Qatar Awards From Website

Filed Under: American, American AAdvantage

American Airlines has been doing a good job lately with adding partner airline award options to aa.com. This makes it easier for the average member to redeem American miles, since they can see all the options available to them with a single search.

If you’ve been getting used to this improved search functionality, it’s worth being aware that awards on some of American’s most popular partners may no longer be showing online.

American Removes Most Etihad & Qatar Awards From AA.com

American has temporarily removed Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways award flights from their website, with the exception of awards to & from the US or Canada. All awards remain bookable as before, but for awards in other regions you have to call to book.

Etihad Airways A380

Why American Removed These Awards Online

So, why has American removed award space on two of their most popular partners from aa.com? For good reason, actually.

For the past several months there have been reports of people booked on Etihad and Qatar using AAdvantage miles not being entitled to free checked bags. This caused lots of confusion, since these awards should be receiving free checked bags.

I’ve received several reports of this, though figured it came down to misinformed agents, or something.

As it turns out, there has been a glitch where awards booked through aa.com show no baggage allowance for Etihad and Qatar (meanwhile awards booked by phone didn’t have this issue). That wasn’t just a glitch that showed on confirmations, but people showed up at airports and were asked to pony up for checked bags.

This glitch only happened for bookings made online. American is now allegedly working on reissuing tickets that haven’t yet been flown so that they have the correct baggage allowance. They’re also figuring out how to address refunds for those who have paid checked bag fees as a result of this error.

Hopefully all Etihad and Qatar awards will be back on aa.com soon.

Qatar Airways A380

Bottom Line

For the time being you’ll have to call American if you want to ticket AAdvantage awards on Etihad & Qatar that aren’t for travel to & from the US or Canada. It makes sense that American took these awards “offline,” and now it also makes sense why so many passengers have been having issues with checked bags on awards.

Have you been impacted by this glitch?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. So are the flights to/from US/Canada not affected by the glitch?

    The better way to handle this would have been some sort of banner. This now increases the workload of agents, as they have to do more searching, rather than the customer finding the space and feeding it to the agent.

  2. Kudos to AA for recognizing the problem and taking steps to fix it, especially attempting to offer refunds to affected passengers. That is good, solid customer service.

  3. I don’t understand – can you still search and book the awards online, but just need to call to ticket them? Or you don’t see them online at all?

  4. I actually had this issue on 2 EY tickets recently. Took a lot of arguing and phone calls to supervisors at check in on a J ticket to get my bags issued for free.

  5. ahh finally some clarity on why there seems to be ZERO availability on QR business from LAX! I hope they fix this soon.. dying to try out the QSuites 😀

  6. This summer I was asked to pay for checked bags on an AA flight from JFK to MXP despite being a Finnair Gold cardholder. Paid ticket. Cheap economy ticket. Agent was at premium check in too but said I was not entitled to a free bag.
    AA refunded me almost right away.

  7. I had this issue in August coming back from Maldives, Etihad was charging me $700 for two checked bags on an award booking made through AA. They ended up knocking down to $280 for two bags, and told me I had to dispute with AA.

  8. On several occasions over the past 3 years, the AA award tickets in F show up as staff tickets in the EY reservation system. Thile segment is JFK-AUH.

    As I’m obviously not an airline employee, after a couple of internal calls, the bags were accepted.

    Also a similar but much worse problem happened twice with QR. Their system shows the reservation, BUT there is no ticket number so there’s no way to issue a boarding pass. This was KTM-DOH and DOH-AMM.

    OneWorld in Dubai showed everything was intact in the record, but it wasn’t complete on the QR side. In KTM, the station manager overrode the system but that was a courtesy: I didn’t really have a ticket, at least as far as their reservation system was concerned.

  9. I have awards booked using AA miles on both, but carry-on only 🙂
    related – some Etihad Guest awards in first, used to show on AA, but recently that’s not been the case sad 🙁

  10. Whoa, this got me thinking about an overnight email from AA Just checked and yes it is a reissued award ticket for RTW19 3.0 4 Showers in a Row ICN-AUH 1st for 40,000 AA Miles 🙂

  11. So AA can award tickets for Oneworld partner long-haul flights that have no included baggage allowance? Given they were able to do so with QR, couldn’t they choose to do so deliberately for say AA and BA’s own long-haul flights too as part of a “basic economy”/economy-minus mileage ticket?

    I am betting that eventually we will be seeing a lot more of this with AA mileage tickets for partner flights and that it won’t be an accident.

  12. Flying DPS – LIS in February in Business booked online for Feb 24. Thanks for the heads up.

    Can this be solved with a call to AA?

  13. I had the same problem on a business class award from BKK on Thai, then Zurich to Miami on Swiss. Both airlines showed no checked baggage allowed, although the award clearly shows two checked bags, under 70 pounds, allowed. No amount of emails, messages Facebook or Twitter would solve the issue. I got to BKK and I told my “story”…..had prepared document in my phone with rules stated…..they allowed the bag without charge. Ended up getting a canceled/overnight in Zurich (bag had been checked to Miami)….so had to do shoftshoe routine for Swiss, which they too accepted. This problem is bigger than United and American realize. When they start paying out, they might realize.

  14. I was flying Etihad FRA – AUH in April 19 in J, issued through American over the phone (!) in 2018 with my family (4 Seats).
    Outbound was no problem. On the return in Abu Dhabi we were told luggage wasn’t included. Our agent agreed that it wouldn’t make sense for a business class ticket to have no baggage allowance, but it took some phone calls and 20 minutes to get resolved. We did not pay anything.

  15. I flew Etihad booked on an AA award ticket last August and got charged like crazy in luggage fees. And half our trip was in business class!

  16. Flew AUH to KWI in economy this year and got hammered for ~$250 for a 15kg bag on an economy award ticket issued by AA. Was not pleased, but I was running late on time and couldn’t afford to fight it and risk missing my flight. Anyone have any idea how to get reimbursed? Sounds like a nightmare too but I’ll try calling AA.

  17. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar should be banned from flying to the US until they comply with the trade agreements they signed. They flagrantly violate the trade agreements they signed with the US govt in 2005, which allowed them to fly to the US. The agreement stated they would not receive any more financial aid from their respective governments. They have since received over $50 billion. How else do you think they can grow so fast, flying the unprofitable A380 with showers in them?

    Time for the US to wake up. If a foreign nation isn’t following a trade agreement, the agreement should be cancelled. Just like they’d do to us.

    If you support Emirates, Etihad or Qatar…you are anti-American worker and either a pro-monarchist (brutal dictator), communist or socialist (pro-government owned companies).

  18. We are trying to switch flights we booked in Feb to March to the Maldives for our honeymoon and was wondering why there weren’t at Qatar options! Thanks for sharing this and hopefully they sort this out soon!

  19. Thanks a heap for your helpful article.

    I hold an AAdvantage award booking with Etihad for December, and saw the problem with it on Etihad website after seeing this information on your website.

    I made 3 very frustrating calls to AA Customer Service in the United States.
    All three involved very long hold times, and ended with a blank refusal by AA representative to recognize the problem or to do anything about it.

    The 4th call, to AA Customer Service in AUSTRALIA, had a completely different outcome:
    the AA rep recognized the issue straight away, and after a few minutes on hold – TADA!!! – my Etihad booking showed 40K of luggage.

    Thanks again!

  20. I’ve been fighting with AA and QR about my Business class flight from DPS-DOH-LIS since this blog appeared and have gotten nowhere. Luckily flight is in Feb 2020. Might give AA time to fix? ;-(

    Any help from anyone else? I’m gonna try Australia next I guess.

  21. I just called the Ireland reservations # to book an award for JNB-DUH-DUB on Qatar. Before calling I checked for awards on AwardNexus so I was able to provide the rep with the flights I wanted. It was quick and easy.

  22. Wow, i hadn’t even noticed that on my award booking with Etihad in June 2020. Plenty of time for them to fix it but i suppose worth calling them to make sure?

  23. Still have nothing in writing to confirm any baggage allowance on QR flight booked on Aadvantage miles.

    Repeated phone calls to AA resulted in no change as agents were unaware of the problem.

    Ticket eventually was eventually ‘re-issued’ but still shows no baggage allowance on my copy.

    Noone at AA will confirm in writing that there is a baggage allowance on the ticket.

    DM to @AA has produced nothing except they no longer reply.

    I’ll be passing through SEA next week so maybe airport staff can help

  24. I’ve got the same issue. Etihad business class flight booked through Advantage. No baggage allowance showing up under ‘Manage booking’ on etihad.com and confirmed by Etihad support. I’ve called AA twice and also wrote their support on Twitter, but they just claim that there is baggage allowance and are not moving on that position. Not really sure how to proceed now…

  25. Make sure you keep their answers. I had a similar situation and with the material kept handy and printed out I was able to convince supervisors on two flights what was going on. It was a major hassle starting travel with a heated argument. It’s just another way airlines are disrespectful of their passengers.

  26. Ok. Here is my experience. Only noticed the issue on my ticket for WDH-JNB-LHR on a mixture of BA (Comair) nd Etihad, all in Business and First next June, when I read this blog.
    I contacted AA via Twitter. They constantly stated that I had 40kg of baggage allowance. I took a screenshot of the conversation and commenced a Twitter conversation with Etihad, including the screenshot of the AA conversation. Etihad replied saying I did not have any baggage allowance and that AA would need to re-issue the tickets; I took a screenshot.
    I re-commenced my discussion with AA including the screenshot of the conversation with Etihad and kindly asked them to re-issue.
    RESULT. AA re-issued the ticket. Seat assignments remained intact and as if by magic, my baggage allowance has appeared as it should be!
    More of the story, make screenshots of Twitter conversations and use it against the other airline you’re trying to deal with…..funny how it suddenly gets results

  27. It seems AA has started with surcharges on EY/QR awards.. LAX-BOM business awards (barely the 1-2 spaces I found) were showing 140k miles+$330ish in total

  28. Ouch! I hope this is not true but expect the worst.

    It seems to foretell the end of the points game.

    Hainan has lots of availability if you want to pay 65,000 points and $300 for a Bus flight from China. Not worth it for sure as Hainan just ain’t CX no matter how you try to rationalize it.

    Now that Hong Kong airlines has stopped NA routing the opportunities for affordable travel seem to be shrinking daily.

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